Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he expects a floor vote on a state budget in mid-March. It would fall after special elections to fill four vacant house seats, which could result in an even split in the number of House democrats and republicans. Stumbo maintains that a constitutional majority of members or 51 votes is not required until the final vote on the budget. The speaker says he expects the Kentucky legislature will pass a budget this session. “We’ll have a legislatively enacted budget, I think, and it will be up to the governor if he wants to veto it or whatever he wants to do,” said Stumbo.
In past sessions, lawmakers have approved a state budget in the waning hours of the session, after the veto period. Other years, the governor has called lawmakers into a special session to approve a state budget.
Senate President Robert Stivers says the republican leadership’s internal office staff is helping with budget review. Typically, the Legislative Research Commission would be involved. But this session both democratic and republican members in the House are relying on LRC employees for budget work. Stivers says that’s because of the close political divide between democrats and republicans in the House. “We know they’re working long hours, almost long hours as if we’re at the end of the session, where they’re putting in 15 and 18 hours days because of the political dynamics in the House,” noted Stivers.
Stivers hopes to see a budget on the governor’s desk around the first of April, before the veto period.